Today I am reviewing the great white pelican, Pelecanus onocrotalus Linnaeus, 1758 by Papo, which was released in 2011 as part of their Wild Animals line. The figure was simply marketed as ‘pelican’ but it most-likely was inteded to represent P. onocrotalus. I decided to review this figure now because I recently replaced it in my Synoptic Collection with the 2016 figure by Schleich. I want to point out, that I did not replace it because I think it is a poor figure. On the contrary, it is a very nice figure, but it is too big for my tastes. While I am not strict with scales, I like related organisms to be relatively similar to one another, and this figure is noticeably larger than the American white pelican (Safari LTD) and Australian pelican (Science & Nature) in my Synoptic Collection. So I thought I should review it on the Blog before I trade it, sell it, or it goes into the closet for who knows how long, just in case no one else has the intention of reviewing it any time soon.
The great white pelican is native to the Palearctic. The bird breeds in several localities in Eastern Europe and Central and Western Asia, south into much of sub-Saharan Africa to South Africa. It is also commonly referred to simply as the ‘white pelican’ but that term might get confused for the American white pelican.
The great white pelican is a large bird. It measures 55-71 cm in length and has a wingspan of 226-360 cm, second only to the great albatross among extant birds. The figure stands 8.3 cm tall, but because of the posture, a scale is hard to determine. Based on the length of the beak however, the figure is 1:20 on average. This species exhibits marked sexual dimorphism, with males being up to 30% more massive than females, so this figure can be larger (female) or smaller (male) than 1:20 depending on the gender one presumes.
The figure has a rather dynamic pose. Its wings are held open and it has a fish sculpted into its beak, so one can imagine this pelican just caught a fish and alighted on a wharf to dry its wings. Great white pelicans are communal and feeding is often done in a cooperative effort to maximize the amount of fish caught.
Overall this figure makes a great collectible, but because of its large size and solid construction, it can also make a great educational toy for children. Again, my desire to replace this figure is based on its size and not quality or accuracy. To end this review, I leave you with the famous poem by Dixon Lanier Merritt:
A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill will hold more than his belican,
He can take in his beak,
Enough food for a week.
But I’m damned if I see how the helican!